Lawmakers pass legislation to increase strength of pepper spray - WNEM TV 5

Lawmakers pass legislation to increase strength of pepper spray

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
DAVISON, MI (WNEM) -

A new law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder is making a popular self-defense product more potent.

Pepper spray products will now have a greater concentration of its active ingredient, a chemical derived from chili peppers.

The sprays will also include an ingredient that could help police track down criminals.

“I know that if we’re talking about an individual that’s very aggressive or under the influence of drugs or something like that. Some of these simple pepper sprays won’t have an effect on them,” said Jonathan Reynolds, with Williams Gun Sight Company in Davison.

Reynolds said many people come into his store to buy the self-defense products.

“They are a non-lethal option. Nice thing about them is that you can typically carry them on a keychain or in a pocketbook or something like that,” Reynolds said.

The maximum allowable concentration of oleoresin capsicum, the active ingredient in pepper spray, used to be 10 percent. On Monday, state lawmakers approved the concentration to go higher and hotter to 18 percent.

Some of the pepper spray at Williams Gun Sight Company claim they are 67 percent hotter than hot sauce.

Legislation also approved products that contain ultra violet dyes, which could be used to help identify criminals that come into contact with pepper spray.

“I know a lot of people that when they’re walking across like a dark parking lot late at night, they’re carrying it in their hands out in the open. For some people, it’s less worry because I’m not walking across the parking lot with a gun,” Reynolds said.

Some studies have shown high dosages of the chemicals found in pepper spray can be harmful, causing respiratory, cardiac and neurologic problems – including death.

Reynolds said people should be properly trained just as they should be when buying a pistol.

“Yeah, if you don’t know what you’re doing or you haven’t been trained, it can mess you up. You have to pay attention to the simple things like the wind blowing. Otherwise, you could end up pepper spraying yourself,” Reynolds said.

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